On Sunday, February 12, the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs will meet at the State Farm Stadium to determine the winner of the NFL campaign. There are convincing arguments on both sides, from the X-factor under center for the Chiefs to the all-around power of the Eagles.
Still, one breakout star of the season looks primed to have a massive game at Super Bowl LVII. Drafted in the second round in 2019, Miles Sanders came to the NFL as a former understudy to an eventual second-overall pick in the NFL Draft the year prior.
Now, after a huge regular season and continued top form in the playoffs, the former Penn State back has a great chance to use his skills and momentum to be a game-changer in the biggest game of the sport.
Sanders shouldn’t be so underrated for top honors
Coming into Super Bowl Weekend, Super Bowl odds UK bookies are offering have the Eagles as the narrow favorites at -120 and the Chiefs at +100. It won’t come as a surprise as quarterback Patrick Mahomes leads the odds for Super Bowl MVP at +120, as many assume his plays would be needed to turn the tide.
Below him, you have the likes of Travis Kelce at +1300, AJ Brown at +1400, and then the best running back set to take to the field at Super Bowl LVII, Miles Sanders. At +2000, Sanders is certainly a dark horse for the MVP prize, with the focus on the large group of backs at Philly’s disposal setting him further down in the odds.
However, even with the running back room featuring four capable running backs of different skill sets, not to mention the potential for others to carry the rock from the backfield, Sanders is still in a great place to dominate. It might just be his chance to get even more bragging rights over Penn State and NFC back Saquon Barkley.
Running angry into a porous defense
The Philadelphia Eagles are the favorites with good reason: they’re essentially fully healthy and boast a much more well-rounded team. Should they take the lead through the air or ground, the focus will turn to the running game to tick away the minutes and keep Mahomes off of the field.
Philadelphia’s main running back is the Penn State man, and as the ESPN report on Miles Sanders explains, he’s been particularly physical and running angry this year. It’s led to his best year in the NFL by far, putting up 1,269 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns along the ground in the regular season alone.
In his two postseason games, Sanders has added a further 132 yards from 28 carries and two rushing touchdowns. Hitting an average of 4.8 yards per attempt between the regular season and playoffs, it’s clear that the back has been the most effective for Philly and one of the best carriers of the rock in the NFL.
Helping him on Super Bowl Sunday will be the Chiefs’ particular weakness to the run game. They rank as the 15th-worst per carry in the NFL, allowing 4.4 yards per attempt, and Sanders even managed to put up 42 yards and two touchdowns against the league’s best defense against rushing plays (San Francisco 49ers) in the last round.
Sanders has been playing at an elite level this season and has a lot of momentum coming to the Super Bowl. He might just be fed enough to break off huge gains and touchdowns, potentially putting him in the MVP conversation. Only seven MVP awards have gone to backs, with the last being in 1998, but Sanders shouldn’t be slept on just yet.